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Somaliland, What You Should Know!

Updated on April 4, 2020

So, for those unfamiliar with the location, Somaliland is an independant northern state within the country of Somalia. It was formed after the civil war between the clan warlords of North and South Somalia clashed from 1989 to 1991. Blood spillage was prevelant and there was unforgettable famine, so many people died that some mass graves of the bodies buried are lost.

However! this country has since moved on and it has a lot to express to the global community with its culture, wisdom, religion and ethics along with so much more. You may already have stereotypes about this place like how it must be dangerous with Al-Shabab carrying out terrorist attacks or how there is continuous poverty and famine and such, but Somaliland is different from the rest of Somalia and its different from how it used to be.

The Economy and Political Status

The economy of Somaliland does not boast a powerful one but it continuously grows by the year and developments are made. Its GDP value is approximated to be 2 Billion US Dollars and the country has its own currency,separate from south Somalia, the Somaliland Shillings.

The Somaliland Shillings
The Somaliland Shillings

The economy's exportation revenue mainly comes from two sources:

  • Expatriates ; Somalis from Somaliland are well spread out across the world and live in many countries, they often send money back to their homeland to support their families or invest in businesses of their own through remittances and this has a lion share in the GDP of Somaliand.
  • Agriculture ( mainly livestock rearing) ; Somaliland's livestock rearing animals include goats, camels, sheep and cows. They export them to neighboring countries like Ethiopia, Eritrea and also the Gulf countries of the Middle East and especially to the Gulf countries in times of Hajj which is an annual pilgrimage whereby millions of Muslims take part in. This annual pilgrimage event always involves animals being sacrificed and eaten which is why Somaliland profits from this during Hajj.

As for politics, Somaliland's system of governance consists of both western and traditional institutions. Its constitution breaks down into

  • Executive Branch
  • Legislative Branch
  • Judicial Branch

And so typically, Somaliland has a democratic constitution despite the country itself not being internationally recognised.

Somaliland Government Logo
Somaliland Government Logo

Religion and Ethics

Regarding Religion and Religious beliefs, you should that the majority of Somalis in both Somaliland and the rest of Somalia are Sunni Muslims and they have been this way since shortly after the Islamic Hijra (migration) so it is said that Islam was preached and propagated around Somalia in between the 7th and 9th Centuries.

Islam has been influential to the culture and traditions of Somalis since it was preached to them and today it is a major social factor for Somali lives in mannerism and even at the constitutional level.

It was in 2009 when Sharia (Islamic Laws and Rulings) that it was incorporated in the constitution of Somaliland under Article 2 which states that ".. no law can be enacted that is not compliant with the general principles and objectives of Sharia".

Now, when it comes to Ethics, its all influenced by Islam and tradition. The majority of the people's social behaviour is governed by the belief to be humble and interactive hence you would find that people get along together very well and its a socialist community-like way of living here in Somaliland.

In the traditions of Somali art, the ethic; aniconism is an attribute to native art whereby the art lacks expression of material representations. This was said to be influenced by their Muslim beliefs.


Experiences In Somaliland

Being an unfamiliar place to the rest of the world, Somaliland is thought to be a hotspot to dangers like Al-Shabab terrorist attacks but that simply isn't the case as I have spent some times in Somaliland myself to gather my research. From my findings and interrogation, the people have informed me that the terrorist attacks only occur within south Somalia because the agenda of Al-Shabab is to appeal to the internationally recognised government of Somalia in the capital city of Mogadishu so they have no interests with the North. Also, Somaliland has its own military force and the state hasn't been in any conflicts since 1991, this peacetime has allowed its Military to grow and deter threats from the south.

Apart from Somaliland being a safe to be in, my experiences there have included lengthy chats with locals in cafes and the people have such interesting stories and wisdom to share.

But if your still in doubt above this intriguing place then please watch these YouTube videos of friends that went and documented their time in Somaliland :

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Mustapha Amin

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